Waves of ominous, swirling keys and treated guitars welcome you aboard Jim James second solo album “Eternally Even” and it takes a minute before you sit back and sigh with pleasure as his singular voice arrives and you can drift in its current. Before long you’re awash in a sea of southern soul being swept away on the tide of James’ sonic soul-balm.

Time and again over the course of this album melancholy melodies eventually lead to brooding beauty. Intense, lyrical bass-lines underpin vocals that accentuate James’ Al Green sensibilities. Spooky, spoken word vocals haunted by ghostly female backing singers deliver overtly political commentaries that are clearly evident in song titles like ‘Same Old Lie’ and ‘ Hide in Plain Sight’, titles that juxtapose the entire album’s hypnotic hooks and repetitive grooves.

 

A classic 50’s jazz trumpet intro, gives way to a Benson-esque guitar break, or is it Johnny Guitar Watson, before hushed lead vocals steer ‘True Nature’ away from its early jazz inclinations to inhabit a more contemporary sound before returning to its early jazz motif courtesy of added horns.

In the Moment starts with some of the funkiest fusion ivory tinkling this side of 1975 and the hey-days of Weather Report , Herbie Hancock and early Earth Wind and Fire before embarking on a synth and horn driven reverie.

‘Sun’s out, no thought of rain……..I hope you’re having a wonderful life’ Jim whisper-sings on closer ‘Eternally Even’ while dialing down on the already somnambulant mood that dominates the last third of the album and signals an attempt to close proceedings on a more personal, less overtly political note.

A darkly delicious soul trip that only reveals its true treasures when listened to in its entirety, it’s the continuity that ‘makes’ this record and attention to its span rewards exponentially.

Eternally Even Image

JIM JAMES
Eternally Even
(Capitol/ Ato 2016)

-Genre: indie rock

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Gary A. Rutland
Collaborator - RREVERB

Gary’s been listening to music since the 60’s and has the scars to prove it. Failed dalliance’s with violins and guitars couldn’t stop him fronting the Punk band Moscow and being spat on by 2000 Welsh punks in the summer of 1977 while supporting John Peel faves The Motors at Cardiff Top Rank. He spent 15 years selling some of the finest music by some of the best musicians in the world.